(Illustration by Ben Wootten comes from the Paizo Blog and is © Paizo Publishing.)
In the Pathfinder RPG’s default solar system, Liavaran dreamers are relatives of the jellyfish-like Brethedan race. Residents of a gas giant, the Brethedans sent colonists to their closest planetary neighbor. After ages of no contact, a second convoy was sent, where they discovered the original Brethedans’ descendants had gone feral, lulled by—or even addicted to—Liavara’s numerous ley lines. The resulting dreamer is a somnambulant creature more asleep than awake, following the ley lines in a dreamlike state.
None of this seems like the makings of much of a monster, especially since Liavaran dreamers don’t combine like their Brethedan cousins do. (Even if you mind-link with one, the worst that can happen is that might be temporarily dazzled, too.) But dreamers still need to eat…and unlike Brethedans, they have an engulf ability, with acid damage and paralysis in the bargain. They also really, really like their harmonious sleep. Remove one from its ley line for too long, or reduce it below half its hit points, and you essentially get a raging barbarian of an air jellyfish, liable to crit you into ribbons and/or a bloody pulp courtesy of tentacles that do bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage in an 18–20 range. Think of them like you would a psychic longhorn—it’s a cow as long as you’re on the other side of the fence, but up close and riled up, it's a bull—and that’s a completely different animal, figuratively speaking.
This blog, however, is setting-neutral. So if our Brethedans are just brethedans, and our psychic jellyfish aren’t Liavaran, what kind of dreamers do we get instead?
Brethedans are common visitors to the airship-friendly city of Spike—many are even citizens. So the owners of the Metallos Menagerie should have expected some trouble when they chose to exhibit a flotilla of T’Sharan dreamers. Still, even the most jaded Spikers were caught by surprise when the brethedans did not just protest the display of their degenerate cousins, but instead rioted and let all the menagerie’s beasts free. Now wild monsters from three continents roam the Spire City—and the most dangerous of all are the T’Sharan dreamers. Starved for both meat and the reassuring hum of a ley line, they are hours, if not minutes, away from atavistic fury.
“Don’t split the party.” Even fledgling dungeon delvers know this. But when a party of adventurers sets out to kill a psychic parasite, they have to do it on two worlds at once. On this plane, they have to put down a Medusan dreamer driven mad by the parasite that distorts its precious ley harmonics. And in the Dreamscape, they have to slay the parasite’s psychic form, that of an ioun stone-juggling munavri rake. If either half of the parasite persists, it will regenerate in time...and with a vengeance.
“‘Aether prospecting’ they call it. You dive into the gas giant’s psychic mantle and come up with tanks full of ley energy. It’s a gig that pays obscene money; on top of that the aether yields are pretty much essential for most large-sale enchantment work. We’re talking magical vessels or structures, mind you, not your run-of-the-mill sparkly sword. You just have to make sure a flotilla of dreamers don’t paralyze you and melt you into goo for stealing their stash, or that one of those oma whales doesn't fry you like bacon as it’s swallowing your ship whole. But you’re tough enough for the job…ain’t you?”
—Occult Bestiary 31
Note that I linked to the Archives of Nethys for stats, since I know Paizo folk tend to be fans of that site. Careful to avoid copyright issues, the d20PFSRD I usually use for such monsters calls them “sky dreamers.”
If you’re looking for the lesser death, it’s back here in the “Grim Reaper” entry.
No radio show tonight. Post-snow the roads seem okay, but close to an hour commute each way on ice at night still isn’t the best move.